CENTURY MEDIA Sues People Over Illegal Downloads

2 mins read has reported that Century Media Records has filed lawsuits that target more than 7,000 people for using peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully distribute “Dark Adrenaline”, the new album by LACUNA COIL, and “Dystopia”, the 2011 outing by ICED EARTH.

An independent record label, a foreign film company and several pornography studios have declared war on illegal file sharing in New Jersey, suing more than 12,000 people since June for allegedly using peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully distribute copyrighted material over the Internet.

After a lull of several years, 44 lawsuits have been filed in the state’s federal courthouses over the past 18 months against more than 15,000 “John Doe” defendants who, initially, are identified only by Internet addresses that stretch from Fort Lee to Honolulu.

Twenty-four of those suits, seeking to identify 12,615 potential offenders, were filed in June and July alone — a sign that this area of mass litigation is on the rise.

While the major motion picture studios and record companies have largely abandoned efforts to go after individual file swappers, chalking up piracy to the cost of doing business, smaller independents and producers of pornography have taken up the cause.

Their efforts, however, have drawn criticism from judges and advocacy groups over predatory tactics that appear to be aimed at coercing settlements.

A Hackensack attorney, Jay R. McDaniel, is one of the lawyers leading the charge. He has filed 17 suits on behalf of three clients in U.S. District Court in Newark, alleging copyright infringement by more than 14,000 file swappers.

“What’s critical to these cases, and what many people don’t understand, is that it’s the distribution that is the evil influence,” McDaniel said. “It’s the distribution that does the real damage and harm, not just to the client but to the culture industries and to creative endeavors in general.”

McDaniel’s clients include a London-based record company, Century Media Ltd., which is suing fans of two popular metal bands for allegedly using the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol to unlawfully distribute their music online.

Two of the suits aim to halt the illicit distribution of “Dark Adrenaline,” the most recent album by the Italian band Lacuna Coil. The suits collectively target 3,136 John Doe defendants.

Four similar civil complaints accuse another 4,327 unnamed file swappers of illegally distributing “Dystopia,” the 2011 album by Iced Earth, a Florida-based metal band on the Century Media label.

McDaniel is also representing a German film company, Amselfilm Productions GmbH & CO. KG of Berlin, which holds the rights to the 2011 Russian movie “Bablo,” or “The Dough.” Three suits, filed in late June at the same time as the six Century Media cases, contend 4,654 people shared pirated copies of the film.

“Illegal downloading has reached epidemic proportions, as thousands of works are pirated on a daily basis through bit torrents that rob copyright holders of the value of their creative work,” McDaniel wrote in a suit he filed last year in Newark on behalf of another German client, Baseprotect UG Ltd.

In that suit, the company is asking a judge to enforce its exclusive license to distribute the 2011 British film “Weekend” via file-sharing networks.

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